Kodi: Uses, Requirements, and Features

Kodi, formerly known as XBMC, is an open-source and free media player software application that is developed by a non-profit technology association called XBMC. With a 10-foot user interface, it can be used on multiple operating systems and hardware platforms.

Uses

With Kodi, you can view and play almost all types of streaming media like videos from the internet, music, podcasts, and digital media files from the network and local storage media. Kodi is a highly customizable software with many skins to change its appearance and many plug-ins to allow users to access streaming content from online services like Amazon Prime, Netflix, Spotify, Pandora, and YouTube. Kodi is supported on iOS/tvOS, Android, macOS, BSD, Linux, and Microsoft Windows-based operating systems.

Technology

Kodi is a multi-platform home theater PC (HTPC). It is open-source software with its code written in C++. JeOS, along with modified Kodi-XBMC, has been used as a software framework in several devices, including smart TVs, set-top boxes, hotel television systems, digital signage, and network-connected media players. The same software framework is used for embedded systems based on an armhf platform like Raspberry Pi as well. Kodi also supports third-party plug-ins that help viewers watch copyrighted media content in an unauthorized way. Because of this reason, Kodi has attracted a lot of negative attention as well.

Requirements

Requirements for using Kodi are higher than essential 2D style software apps. To use Kod, you need a graphics hardware controller that is 3D capable of effective rendering. Nowadays, most of the computer platforms like set-top boxes, consist of powerful 3D GPU chips. Kodi, from the very beginning, was designed to be a resource-efficient, powerful, and versatile framework. It runs perfectly on under powered systems like OpenGL 1.3 and OpenGL ES 2.0. It also works smoothly with capable systems like  IA-32/x86, x86-64, and ARM. To perform decoding of full HD 1080p high bit-rate video, a CPU that is dual-core or faster is required for smooth play without frame drops or jerky appearance.

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Core Features 

1. Live TV

With Kodi, you can watch some TV broadcasts that are transmitted by a DTT, ADSL, cable, or Internet streaming. Kodi also comes with a native Live TV with Electronic Program Guide (EPG) and Digital Video Recorder (DVR) along with a Personal Video Recorder (PVR). The PVR frontend GUI enables video capture and playback from a hard-disk drive. Therefore, the PVR backend can be used as a PC with a digital video recorder software, or a DVR set-top box that is connected to the network. This software can be used on the same computer or other computers of the same network. With the help of this software, computers and other appliances can be converted into a DVR. The operating systems can be iOS, Android, macOS, Linux, and Microsoft Windows-based operating systems.

Several PVR client addons that are available are mentioned below.

* add-ons used for PVR software and hardware such as ForTheRecord, Tvheadend,  MediaPortal, MythTV, NextPVR, VDR, Windows Media Center, Argus TV, DVBLogic DVBLink, and DVBViewer

* Kodi movie addons like Exodus, The Magic Dragon, Exodus Redux, Tempest, Movie Theater Butter, Scrubs v2 Loki, and Nole Cinema

* add-ons used for LAN connections to TV tuners that are network-attached like PCTV Systems Broadway, HDHomeRun, Njoy Digital AnySee N7, and VBox Home TV Gateway

* add-ons used for DVR sr-top boxes that are Enigma2-based like  DBox2,  Vu+, and Dreambox

* add-ons used for television providers that are internet-based like Stalker Middleware and FilmOn

* add-ons used for IPTV in general like the simple PVR client addon.

 2. Video Playback

* Video Library: Video library is one of the Kodi metadata databases and is one of its key features. Video library organizes the video content by the information that is associated with the video files itself. This information is obtained through scrapers and NFO files. Video library also classifies content into Genre, Title, Year, Actors, and Directors.

* Video Play Cores: Kodi uses video player "core" for video playback which is an in-house developed cross-platform media player. This video player "core" is FFmpeg and supports all widespread mainstream formats. This player also supports on-the-fly pause and play feature for DVD-Video movies.

* Audio Playback: similar to video playback, the Audio Playback of Kodi provides media library and audio player cores. The media library includes organization whereas audio cores provide resampling of audio frequency, gapless playback, and crossfading.

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3. Addons Manager, addons and plugins

Kodi has several open APIs that enable third-party developers to create capabilities that help in using Kodi with a multitude of addons. These addons include audio and video streaming plugins for online sources, visualizations, screensavers, web interfaces, weather forecasts, and more. This feature is possible because of an Addons Framework architecture and an Addons Manager GUI client that can be connected to a decentralized digital distribution service platform. This platform serves add-on apps and plug-ins which provide online content to Kodi and allows users to download and install addons directly from Kodi's GUI.

Most of these online content sources are in over-the-top content, high definition services that use video streaming sites as sources for the media content that is being offered. Kodi provides integrability and extensibility with online sources which support free and premium streaming content. Because of the rights agreement, many content sources are geo-restricted are not available in certain countries. However, people use bypass techniques which disregards these user rights.

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4. Skins and Themes

Customization and modification of the interface are standard among Kodi users. Similar to almost all originated from the "homebrew" scene, it offers hundreds of skins to install. The skinning engine of Kodi is very advantageous to third parties because of its flexibility. Kodi's skinning engine facilitates rebranding the environment and making in-depth changes to the look and feel of the user interface. According to the latest version of Kodi, Estuary is the official default skin for home theater usage whereas, Estouchy is the default skin for touchscreen usage. These skins are newly designed and have replaced "Confluence," a long-time default skin. These new skins help in presenting more content on the home screen, which makes it easier to use the software.

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